The young horse-chestnut tree in the backyard of the Annex where the Franks and their friends hid from the Nazis, briefly tells the story of the family’s time there, and especially Anne’s writing as she sat by the window looking out at the tree, which reassured her. This tree, even with its humanoid qualities, may not have understood all that was occurring during those years, but as it grew, it noted Anne and Peter’s increasing fondness for each other — and witnessed the tragic ending when the Nazis arrived to take the family away, and years later notes that only the father, returned.
The witness tree, always identified with Anne, lived many years longer. At last it grew old and withered away, wreathed by a host of acorns (its children, if you please) on the grass. The tree’s descendants grace the gardens of many children all over the world, recalling the talented young author who perished and perhaps reminding them to be fair-minded and welcoming to all.
This is a rhythmic, gracefully worded, and sublimely illustrated reader.The only criticism is the author’s personification of the tree as the mother of all those acorn children – a bit too Disney. The publishers recommend the book for readers from kindergarten up but 7- 8 years old, would be a more logical recommendation. It is a lovely way to introduce the Anne Frank story.